Monday, February 28, 2022

God, Save the King! (Psalm 20)

"Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand" (Psalm 20:6).

We return today to our study of the Psalms. Throughout history people have rallied behind their monarchs crying, “God save the king” or “God save the queen.” This support of the monarchy is reminiscent of the prayer in Psalm 20. Here Israel petitions the Lord on behalf of the king, appealing for God’s protection.

David most likely prepared this common prayer for the people before some particular battle. Even though this may have been penned for some specific occasion, it was probably designed as a standard prayer for the whole assembly whenever it was threatened by any danger.

As the kingdom of Israel was a foreshadowing of a more excellent kingdom fulfilled in Christ, we can learn from our spiritual forebears the necessity of looking only to God for salvation. In Calvin’s words, “Since Christ our King, being an Everlasting Priest, never ceases to make intercession with God, the whole body of the church should unite in prayer with Him. We can have no hope of being heard except He go before us, and conduct us to God.” Such was King David’s role, who presented sacrifices and petitions before the Lord.

Whenever the people in the Old Testament prayed, their hope of obtaining their request was founded upon their sacrifices since these were foreshadows of Christ’s work. In like manner, our prayers are acceptable to God only in so far as “Christ sprinkles and sanctifies them with the perfume of His own sacrifice.”

Just as the Israelites rejoiced in God’s anointed king to whom God had given many blessed promises, we rejoice in Christ through whom we receive the mercy and grace of God. As we live in a spiritual kingdom, our hope for protection and perseverance is not in earthly things but in the heavenly. Our trust is “in the name of the LORD our God.” If we put our hope in our own strength or in the ways of the world, we have forgotten our God, our King. Therefore, we must cast off everything that hinders us from putting our trust in Christ who protects His kingdom. As the people of Israel lived under the shadow of the king (Lam. 4:20), we too are sheltered in the shadow of Christ.

Read Isaiah 9:1–7. What promises are proclaimed in this passage regarding Christ’s kingdom? What is the response of God’s people to this good news? As you begin this week meditate on this passage that you might gain confidence in your King.